How to create a community of good cyber citizens in 2012 (Part 1 of 2)

Dec 20, 2011 11:17am


By Emily Eckland, NCSA Managing Editor of Digital Media

Kristin Judge is the former commissioner of Washtenaw County, Michigan and the leader of the Washtenaw County Cyber Citizenship Coalition (WC4), a volunteer organization designed to raise awareness and provide county residents with the tools and resources to be good cyber citizens. This fall, she became the Director of Partner Engagement for the Center for Internet Security, Multi-State ISAC Division.

We asked Kristin to share some of her accomplishments of 2011 and give advice to others who are thinking of starting their own community organizations to promote awareness and education about online safety.

For those people who don’t know, what is the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC)?

The MS-ISAC is designated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as the focal point for cyber threat prevention, protection, response and recovery for the nation's state, local, territorial and tribal governments.  The MS-ISAC, which is a division of the non-profit Center for Internet Security, includes representatives from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, as well as U.S. territories and local governments.  

How can other people encourage their community to become good cyber citizens?

Getting connected to other members of your community that are interested in this topic is the first step.  Finding elected officials to help you champion the cause is also helpful.  There are plenty of resources online to share with community members in schools, small businesses or at home.  It just takes an interested group to come together and take ownership of distributing the information.

What has been your greatest accomplishment this past year?

The greatest accomplishment of the Washtenaw County Cyber Citizenship Coalition (WC4) was hosting the national launch of National Cyber Security Awareness Month in cooperation with Michigan Governor, Rick Snyder [in October].  It was an honor to have Howard Schmidt, White House Cybersecurity Coordinator and Special Assistant to the President, and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano speak to the over 600 attendees. 

Are there free resources available to help distribute the message?

Yes, the NCSA and MS-ISAC websites provide great resources that can be redistributed.  NCSA has educational videos that highlight key issues.  The MS-ISAC has an Awareness Toolkit containing posters, bookmarks, and calendars full of easy-to-understand, practical tips.  You can also sign up to receive daily tips and monthly newsletters from the MS ISAC.  Visit www.msisac.org.  The links to other websites are also helpful.  For examples of a local website resource, people can visit our community group site at www.washtenawcybercoalition.org

What civic organizations should I invite to be a part of my program?

Libraries, schools, non-profits that work with students and businesses, elected officials, law enforcement, teen groups and corporate partners can all be asked to join the effort.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to create a community program like WC4?

Start finding people in your area who work in this field or care about cyber security.  Visit the WC4 website to copy ideas.  Anything we have on there can be duplicated.  Then, give us about six months to get a toolkit created.   The MS-ISAC with cooperation from NCSA and WC4 is in the process of putting together a "how to" guide for interested local champions. 

What do you hope to accomplish in 2012?

2012 will be a busy year for MS-ISAC and WC4.  In my work with the MS-ISAC, we hope to encourage other communities across the country to start coalitions like WC4.  WC4 will be hosting and teaching their first round of Cyber Safe Business 101 classes starting early 2012.  WC4 is working in cooperation with the local chamber of commerce and university.  It should be a busy but productive year!

Any other words of advice?

Starting small is totally okay.  Encouraging your local library or school to have a speaker or presentation on safe online behaviors is a great place to start.  Don't give up! It may take a while to get everyone to come around, but it will be worth the effort.

It is also important to incorporate the STOP. THINK. CONNECT. message in everything you do. Having a national message will make the effort stronger. 

Later this week, we will be posting a blog from Securing Our eCity's Liz Fraumann that will give additional tips for starting a community organization to raise awareness and education about online safety. Stay tuned!